Thursday, July 15, 2010

Reflections on Differentiation

It was with great excitement that I looked toward the #elemchat tonight on Differentiated Instruction. This past year has been a real journey in DI, as I taught a class with the widest ability range I had seen before. Looking back, I think my one success was Reading and Writing (especially Reading) as I implemented Daily Five and CAFE. It was a fun way to differentiate for each individual student, and it was easy!

So I was eager to share my excitement, but I was also looking at ways to make my Math work. Several people suggested Math Workshop, something which I tried for a while, but I just couldn't get it right. This year, I'm determined to give it another try and look at why it didn't work. I've got a month and a half to spend, how's that for a project? I have a few resources available to me on my District's portal, but I'm also interested to hear how anyone else made their Math workshop work. I know I want to incorporate some Math journal writing, as well as some problem solving. I would love to hear how your Math workshop works!


  1. Although I do not do math worksshops I do a great deal of differentiation. We pre-test the students on the unit (I am usually not big on extra tests but it really works) and then look at goals for each lesson. Depending on whether a student has mastered that skill or not, I then group them. The kids that are lacking fundamentals get a stripped down version of the lesson, often with extra curriculum from a different year. The kids that kind of have it, get to do the lesson with some support from the teacher. The kids that already know it we set up a different challenge for them to use it in a real life situations instead. This works really well for catching students up, challenging them and developing their skillset. It also allows me to spend a little more time with the kids that really need the extra attention. Kids work well with each other and get to teach to each other as well. I love that my groups are flexible and may change from day to day too based on the lesson.

  2. Thanks for sharing! This is one of a few ideas I've been tossing around in my brain... Unfortunately, I'm only teaching half time, but I'm responsible for Math and Language Arts... so I have no idea how to fit all that into a 2.5 hour time block!

    Then there's those important "extras" that I don't consider extras... the community building stuff... it's so overwhelming!

    For your Math time, what are students doing when they aren't meeting with you? What does it look like and sound like?